By Kevin Brady, OMNI Practice Group
All dentists want a practice with high performance, productivity, and profitability. These three P’s represent the standard by which successful dental practices are measured. There is, however, another “P” that many dentists forget, which is arguably the most important – Patients.
Happy patients lead to positive outcomes and accelerate the other Ps. Enhancing customer service and public relations are vital to running a thriving dental practice. To accomplish this requires dentists to devote more time to patients and provide them with what they need to complete their treatment recommendations. By incorporating current, proven, safe, and secure technology into the dental practice, staff can focus more on patient care.
Performance indicators The recall program is the performance enhancement engine of most dental practices. When patients commit to and show up for regular recall appointments, dentists can diagnose potential issues early. These appointments allow time for patients to express their concerns and discuss what needs to be addressed with their teeth. In order to have an effective recall program, the practice needs a good hygiene program to encourage patients to return at six-month intervals. This means the practice has enough staff to see both recall patients and those coming in for more time-consuming dental treatment.
If the one-on-one time with the staff decreases, performance may suffer, and patients may become uneasy about accepting the recommended treatment that was not effectively explained to them. Enhancing patient communication internally and externally during this pandemic time will help to ease patient fears and build trust with being treated at the practice.
Productivity indicators A full patient schedule, along with healthy collections, is indicative of high productivity. In fact, according to the ADA’s Practical Guide to Expert Business Strategies, “Controlling the schedule requires constant vigilance, commitment, and training. It is the foundation for the success of the entire practice. (Ref 1) It takes valuable staff time to maintain this schedule and work with patients and insurance companies to collect payment. When staff is concentrating on reminding patients about appointments, preparing monthly invoices, and communicating with insurance companies, they are not focused on patient treatment and business-building tasks.
Here are several signs that the practice is busy, but not productive:
- The main objective is to keep the schedule full rather than focused on patient care.
- Both the hygiene and dentist schedules are booked for weeks or even months, forcing patients to wait long periods of time for even routine procedures.
- There is no consistency in the procedure schedule—patients are booked for 30, 60, or even 90 minutes.
- Staff skips lunch breaks to catch up.
- There is low patient retention.
- Revenues are flat. (Ref 1)
Using or adding technology can help staff maintain a full patient schedule through automated email, text, mail, and phone call reminders to help patients with their appointments. These software programs also provide practices with essential statistics, such as appointed and completed versus missed appointments, to increase productivity.
Another productivity indicator is the number of patient referrals. Satisfied patients refer others to the practice. Happy patients believe the staff truly cares about their dental care and goes the extra mile explaining treatment options. Happy patients = more referrals! (Ref 1)
Poor performing dental practices experience a myriad of problems. For instance, there may be staff issues that lead to high turnover. High turnover results in reduced efficiencies within the practice since dentists spend more time training new employees and less time with their patients. Patients notice the constant staff changes and increased waiting time.
To have a high performing, productive, and profitable dental practice, focus on the fourth “P”—patients. The solution is having your staff focus on practice building work and less time on busywork that can be automated.
Omni Practice Group has been helping dentists for over 15 years to maximize the value of the practice and provide smooth transitions for dentists as they retire.
References 1. American Dental Association (ADA). The ADA Practical Guide to Expert Business Strategies: Advice from Top Dental Consultants. 2014.Read More
By Megan Urban, OMNI Practice Group
You are probably tired of thinking and talking about LAC, or Life After COVID, but it is coming ready or not. Here are some simple ideas that can make “re-entry” into your dental practice safe and smooth for you, your staff, and your patients. These are not necessarily new concepts, but they are not typically practiced in most offices and it is time to take them seriously.
Cleaning and treatment same day
Multiple offices discuss at morning huddle which patients in the dentist’s schedule need a cleaning. Be proactive and look 1 week ahead instead of the same day to allow more control of your schedule. Contact the patient ahead of time and create a schedule where the patient comes in for treatment and cleaning. Utilizing just one op would be ideal if possible.
Think in terms of patient families
Since most families have been quarantining together, look at all family members and have them all come in together for cleanings and treatment. They can fill the waiting room together and you can treat an entire family each morning. This will probably be more convenient for many patients too. Make sure you confirm these appointments properly, so you don’t have an empty half day.
Full mouth treatment
Don’t assume patients will not want to invest in cosmetic treatment. During quarantine, some of the most missed aspects of daily life were hair appointments, beard trims, manicures, pedicures, salon services, elective surgery, Botox treatments, etc. Personal appearance is definitely more important than many will admit and are willing to spend the money to make it happen. Even if it’s not cosmetic work, consider completing more than one quadrant of treatment at a time. Complete all treatments at one appointment reduces clean up and reduces time away from work for patients – which is more important now as everyone gets back to work.
Go forth and prosper.Read More
By Kevin Brady, OMNI Practice Group
Dental Practice owners know, there’s a lot more to running the business than treating patients.
Owners are responsible for hiring and managing staff, billing patients and insurance companies, handling accounts payable and receivable, and becoming proficient on dental software to operate the practice.
All these duties have a negative impact on both the time dentists are available to their patients and the profitability of the practice.
It’s no secret that dentists face increasing constraints on their time. This means providing high-quality care for their patients, which entails creating treatment plans and participating in continuing education to keep abreast of the latest innovations in dentistry.
At the same time, the dentist needs to be CEOs of their practice. In this capacity, they are tasked with:
-Hiring, training, firing, and managing staff
-Marketing the practice
-Understanding insurance changes and HIPAA regulations
-Managing the billing, collections, and account payables/receivable processes
-Ensuring the office is running smoothly
-Maintaining and enhancing office technology
-Dealing with economic conditions affecting the bottom line of the practice
A lot of dentists come out of school dreaming about doing dentistry and they become disillusioned after a short time learning that not only do they perform dentistry, they have to run a business. When a dentist is overwhelmed with the business aspects of their practice, it is time to seek help.
Employing third parties to help with the daily business aspects can allow dentists to focus more on their core competencies to enrich patient care. Dentists have many choices when seeking advice and outsourcing partners. Most major software companies have additional services to help with outsourcing patient billing and insurance billing, which allows the office to go paperless. Enhancing the Billing/Collections and freeing up doctor and staff time allows the practice to be more productive and profitable.
Developing a Marketing plan is important in building a sustainable practice over time. The ADA says a good rule of thumb when budgeting for marketing expenses is to allow 3-6% of a new practice’s expenses; 2-3% for mature practices; and about 4% for practices that are in the middle. A start-up practice should plan to spend about $40,000 on marketing during the first year, with those costs incorporated into the overall practice financing.
Internal marketing is the least expensive way to build and maintain existing patients and generate new patients. Practices that successfully connect with patients have the best marketing vehicle available – positive word of mouth that current patients share with families, friends, and coworkers that generate new patients for little or no cost.
Having a website that connects the practice with your ideal patient is critical to keeping existing patients and generating new patients. Once you have a branded site, make sure you continue to enhance it with Search Engine Optimization – (SEO). Keeping up with SEO will increase the quality and increase the visibility of the website to internet search engines.
Making sure you have the right branding and marketing strategies designed to endure the current market conditions and changes are critical for the practice to compete with larger corporate dentistry groups.
Practice Transitions – Buying or Selling a Practice
Just as dentistry is a profession that is highly trained and practiced, so are the professional services recommended for selling and buying a practice. A dentist that is looking to sell or buy a practice should seek professional help. Selling or buying a practice can have very complex processes and numerous legal, financial, and tax implications.
OMNI Practice Group is one of the experts in the industry helping dentists with developing plans for adding associates, developing transitions plans, and selling or buying a dental practice and real estate.
-Web Practice Listing Services
-Marketing and Listing services
-Practice Real Estate and Lease services
-Banking Referral Options
Being a Dentist/CEO can present a lot of challenges with operating a dental practice in today’s market. Using the right partners can help improve efficiencies, generate new patients, and increase the value of the practice.
Contact us today for a no-obligation consultation with one of our expert Practice Transition Advisors.Read More
by Steve Kikikis, OMNI Practice Group
In Washington State, Governor Jay Inslee has halted all non-emergency services and elective procedures for the next 8 weeks. This applies to all hospitals, surgery centers, and dental offices… forcing most medical offices to close during this time.
Rent is still due!
The obligation to make a rent payment is not automatically stopped because your business has been forced to close! Here are some ideas of what you can try:
Talk to your Landlord.
Engage with your landlord right away. It may be news to them that your office has been forced to close, leaving you with little to no ability to produce revenue. They might in a situation to help, though this is a negotiation not a guarantee. Ask your landlord if they would be willing to waive or reduce your rent, a 90 day deferral of rent could be an option, or just pay the CAM/NNN – anything can help. Offer to make it up over time once the doors are back open and you’re treating patients. Remember the landlord may be having their own financial hardships, but they do have an interest in you being able to pay the rent for years to come.
Check-in with your insurance agent.
Some insurance policies have coverage for unique circumstances in the case that you are not able to run your business. This may help with covering rents and loss of wages.
I am not an attorney, nor is this an attempt to provide legal advice. So, check-in and consult with your attorney, and make sure they specialize in Commercial Real Estate Law with a focus on Medical leases and contracts. On rare occasions, your lease may include Force Majeure, which could offer relief in unforeseeable circumstances that prevent someone from fulfilling a contract, but this is unlikely. After a quick review of a traditional WA State Commercial Brokers Association Lease, there was no Force Majeure clause within the document.
Ask your attorney about Common Law which is prevalent in many states. This may address the impossibility to perform and make an income. It doesn’t automatically relieve you from your rent obligation, but the fact that you are forced to perform only emergency procedures in WA State may allow for an avenue for relief.
Banks across the nation are offering short term Small Business Loans at low rates as a method for giving small businesses financial aid. First, check-in with specific banks that focus on loans for Medical providers. Small Business Loans are available now. Some larger national banks may offer other loan programs or allow for deferred payments for the time being. Now may also be a good time to refinance your practice loan into a lower rate loan and saving you money.
If you need help getting in touch with a qualified attorney, banker, want to talk about your specific circumstances and ideas, or just want to tell me I am wrong, please contact me at Steve@omni-pg.com.
Find me on LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/steve-kikikis-378b8697Read More